Third national car project should explore energy-saving vehicles — Xavier Jayakumar

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PUTRAJAYA (Aug 21): Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar today suggested that the proposed third national car project explore energy-saving vehicles as its core investment.

He said fossil fuels would probably last another 25 years or less and that there was a need to evolve soon in an effort to shift to more sustainable forms of energy for consumption.

Automobile manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Nissan had all jumped on the electric car bandwagon in an effort to explore marketing and commercialisation options in the long run, he said in a statement.

“The way forward is, of course, the electric vehicle (EV) option. The evolution from fossil fuel vehicles to EVs has already begun. At present, while the world continues to watch F1 racing, the Formula E-racing is fast picking up its set of fans.

“This to me is a viable way ‘for the future’. As such, I am sure the benefits of having a third national car will clearly outweigh its drawbacks,” the PKR vice-president said. 

With EVs being massively produced here in the future, Dr Xavier Jayakumar said,  many people would have the option to shift towards environmentally-friendly vehicles at more affordable prices.

“The learning of new technology will spur younger generations to pursue it and Malaysia can make its mark in the automobile segment not only in the region but globally as well.

“The EV car industry is relatively a new field with Elon Musk's Tesla leading the way at present. The opportunity to get our youths to jump on board and expand it further is limitless. Let the government move forward with the idea,” he said.

Dr Xavier Jayakumar said that since Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took office, he had stated his intention to introduce a third national car in an effort to boost and spearhead the economy.

However, he said, Dr Mahathir's intention was met with much criticism due to the overall performance of Proton, the first national car and a brainchild of his.

Dr Xavier Jayakumar said it was reported recently that two Chinese companies were willing to invest up to US$10 billion (RM41 billion) to kick-start the project for the first five years.

Additionally, Dr Mahathir's proposal had also attracted the interest of several Japanese carmakers such as Toyota and Nissan, he said.

“In my opinion, should either deal go through, it could only benefit the country and its people in the long run,” he added. — Bernama